Ethiopia Runs Against Itself at the UN

Opinions News Politics Sophia Tesfamariam
ethiopia security council
UN member states ought to keep close watch on Ethiopia’s activities as it has a reputation of abusing any of its regional and international positions as an extension of its foreign and security policy interests by raising issues motivated by narrow, exclusive national interests and prejudices.

By Sophia Tesfamariam,

Given the Ethiopian regime’s propensity for exaggerations, fabrications and outright lies, one cannot rely on its self-serving statements of bravado and self-aggrandizement when seeking the truth. Once again, the deceptive minority regime shamelessly toots its own horn on a bid to hoodwink the suffering people of Ethiopia and other gullible parties, by telling tall tales about its “win” at the Security Council. African states have been elected to as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council since the UN’s inception, but none has misrepresented the standard procedure at the UN as the regime ruling Ethiopia has done today.

Ethiopia’s election to the position is in no way a reflection of the minority regime’s “diplomacy”, and no doubt its patrons helped get it elected. The truth is that it ran uncontested as both Kenya and Seychelles withdrew their candidacy paving the way for Ethiopia. It is also not surprising that Ethiopia would garner so many votes, as all candidates that run uncontested tend to do so. Angola, who Ethiopia will be replacing, received 190 votes to earn its seat on the Council. While Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands competed for the two seats allocated for the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG), Ethiopia was the sole candidate for the Africa seat.

Ethiopia’s election to the Security Council comes amidst the turmoil and chaos in the country. The Oromo Protests that began in November 2015 are threatening to engulf the whole country and the minority regime has resorted once again to using brute force to squelch the uprisings. The regime also launched another attack on Eritrea on 12 June 2016 and the border remains tense. It should be recalled that the last time Ethiopia was elected to the Council in 1989-90, similar conditions prevailed in Ethiopia, under the brutal Derg regime. It was overthrown in 1990.

Ethiopia’s assumption of a non-permanent member’s seat in the UN Security Council in January 2017 to serve a two-year term has been widely questioned for these and other reasons:

How can Ethiopia that has occupied sovereign Eritrean territories for over 14 years, in violation of international law and the over two dozen UN Security Council resolutions on the Eritrea – Ethiopia border issue, and is in violation of the African Union and UN Charters and the Algiers Agreements sit in judgement of other member states?

How can Ethiopia that is at war with its own people as evidenced by the genocides committed in the Gambela, Ogaden and Oromia regions of Ethiopia, and whose internal peace, stability and security is threatened by the uprisings across the country serve the interests of international peace and security?

How can Ethiopia that has pursued violence and war to achieve its domestic and international objectives in violation of the UN Charter which calls for the non-use of force; respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states; and the peaceful settlement of disputes, fulfill its mandate as a non-permanent member of the Council?

The Security Council is one of the six main organs established under the UN Charter. It is composed of 15 members—five permanent and 10 non-permanent. The five permanent Security Council members are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The General Assembly elects 10 non-permanent members for a two-year term. The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis. The African Group, Latin American and Caribbean Group, and the Western European and Others Group.

Ethiopia has served twice on the UNSC, in 1967-68 and 1989-90. That is no record to boast about as there have many other African states that have served two terms on the Council. Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mali, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe have all served two terms each. But there are also countries in Africa that have served more than two terms on the Security Council. Algeria, Gabon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Zambia have served 3 times, while Egypt and Nigeria have served 5 times.

Regional analysts warn that the regime in Ethiopia is likely to use its position on the Security Council to raise issues motivated by narrow, exclusive national interests and prejudices. It will not assist the Council in focusing on both existing and emerging threats to collective security. They fear Ethiopia’s presence on the Security Council will undermine the credibility, integrity and efficacy of the Council as the effective and legitimate kernel of global security governance, by reducing it to an extension of its, and that of its patrons, foreign and security policy interests. Member States ought to keep close scrutiny of the regime’s activities, lest it undermine the UN system further.